When you want to take care of online payments in Bahrain there aren’t always as many options as you may have in Europe or the USA. And the big players do not always have full access to your local market. And the (local) players that do do not always offer clear setups rules. So what is available for your e-commerce business in Bahrain and how to go about it?
Integrated Payment Providers
Integrated Payment Providers or independent payment providers tend to be international players that work independently of national banks providing e-commerce businesses with options to receive online payments. Once payments received they offer options to wire this money to local banks they have partnered up with. The latter always depends on national law. Here below three I will discuss in detail and what you can do with them in Bahrain.
Paypal does not work well or not in several of the GCC states. In Bahrain it is not possible to redraw money from a PayPal account to a local bank account. Bahrain is however on the list of countries where PayPal can be used. You will need a foreign bank account or a Visa card to wire money to (see discussion here). So it is possible, but by working your way around the obstacle. Not very convenient.
Stripe is not available in the GCC. Period. See country listing here. And to be fair, they are relatively new on the market so it may take some time to penetrate the GCC market. But again, not yet available in Bahrain. Too bad though as their fees are nice and they also have great integration options. I guess we will have to wait and see.
Seems to have good local support in most if not all GCC countries. I checked the listing and saw Kuwait, SA, Bahrain, UAE as well as Oman. Wiring from 2Checkout to a UAE account seems to be possible according to a blog post here. It again does not seem possible for Bahrain though. Seems you need to get your money via a foreign bank account as well.
Merchant Account Providers
Merchant account providers (banks, state entities, hybrid entities) are local financial entities that offer local payment gateways. These allow you to get customers to pay with their local credit card or debit card and have it wired to the owner’s bank account. Let’s discuss the two I know about and that seem to be the (only) dominant players.
BENEFIT Bahrain is the national gateway that handles or electronic money transfers in Bahrain. It was originally set up during the nineties by 17 local banks to deal with electronic transfers / atms / points of sale / payment gateway in Bahrain. More importantly it is at the top of the financial wires food chain in Bahrain and handles debit card payments . It is part of the regional GCCnet. As mentioned also offers a payment gateway for online businesses to allow credit card or debit card payments and have to them wired to your bank account within the Kingdom of Bahrain.
To apply for it as an e-acquirer does seem rather hard. They do mention information on it on their site.
But it looks like it is mainly for the really big players and not SMEs. If you know more about this then I do, do let me know.
Heard from @ hishamk that there is NO API available and that all has to be done via their webform. It is however possible to apply as an SME as well, which is positive note.
First credit card payment provider in Kuwait and Bahrain. It also has made partnerships with several large international credit card companies to accept these cards at their points of sale. As stated on their site:
CrediMax was the first card acquirer that introduced state-of-the-art Point of sales (POS) machines that are well equipped to accept Smart Card including Visa, MasterCard, JCB products, Benefits, and GCC Net.
It is part of the Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait (BBK). See information on it here.
The nice thing about Credimax is that besides the ever present points of sales services it also offers options to server as a payment provider.
Several businesses are using custom extensions to make their online store work with the Credimax API and there is even a Magento extension. Basic code setup to work with Credimax’s setup can be found at Github.
Third Party Payment Gateways
Third party payment providers tend to be companies that built their payment gateway service on top of a local or large international payment provider. One they depend upon. Here are a few you could consider for your Bahraini based e-commerce website. And as you will see there are quite a few of them.
PayTabs is Bahrain’s very own third party payment provider. They seem to be really cool new kids on the block promising to bypass most of the tough paperwork and customer care you normally have to deal with dealing with integrated payment providers or international payment providers. The API documentation to integrate PayTabs into your web app can be downloaded or viewed here. And here a short video:
I have however not found any Magento or WordPress plugins. So, developers, opportunities out there!
@sergeantpeanuts mentioned: “Paytabs offer a mobile integration, however you’re still redirected to the browser for payment to take place. They need a little hand with their APIs too.”
That is not nice, that redirect. Do hope PayTabs works this out sooner rather than later.
They only work in the UAE and private beta in Saudi Arabia at the moment it seems. But still worth a mention because it Looks like a really cool player. Payfort has several plugins for existing CMS in existence including WordPress / WooCommerce and Magento which is pretty amazing considering the others I mentioned and the lack in that field.
However they only seem to deal with USD and UAE currency and accept a limited amount of credit cards. And that is besides the fact they do not have seemed to be open for business in Bahrain!
@sergeantpeanuts mentioned that “Payfort is said to come out with a more open to GCC payment gateway called Start, still in beta. ” That is something to look forward to!
Hyperpay (Former Gate2Play)
Hyperpay is a payment service provider in the Mena region. It was highly recommended by Fifi at Maison Maillot who I spoke to about it last night. They offer ready made integrations for Magento and WordPress, which is wonderful of course. They also offer one click checkout which is great for conversion. It uses the payon backbone to deal with multiple currencies. Rules and fees for becoming a merchant are not clear however. They basically show you a form to show your interest. When I get a change I will ask Fifi about it all.
Payza (Former AlertPay )
Payza offers the following payment options in Bahrain:
- Bank wire
You can however only withdraw in EUR, GBP or USD and so not in BHD. The Bitcoin part really jumped out here as Bahrain is not really into that that much really. The rest is overall a bit meager. Good documentation for devs I must say though.
So as you can see there are more options than you may have thought. There are however few canned solutions and you will often need the help of a developer to get going. Well, we are here to help you when you need some. You also may ask yourself, why didn’t Jasper do a nice summary of all the fees involved. Well, I might just do that in a follow up post. But I thought this general overview post should be a good start and I hope you do too!
I have to say
I am building a woocommerece site, I was in beginning planing to use Strip but they not support GCC,
So I was looking forward alternative option, I find your article …
based on your experience to accept payment in GCC, what’s the best option
So far I would still recommend BENEFIT or Credimax and preferably the latter. I have seen more extensions built connected to Credimax payment gateway for the Bahraini market than others. Also, they seem to be everywhere in Bahrain as a payment provider for points of sale. BENEFIT I bumped into at a coffee place yesterday. The first one in quite some time.. So my verdict is Credimax.
you forget some websites like https://www.gaatee.com/
Never heard of Gaatee before Ali. Thank you for your contribution! Briefly checked your website. Seems you cover multiple payment options as a service and not just for Bahrain, but for the GCC. Did not see specifics on BENEFIT or Credimax plugin implementations. Especially WordPress was missing as a CMS under free plugins. This being the no 1 CMS worldwide with WooCommerce as its ecommerce branch would be a welcome addition.
Paytabs , CrediMax and benefit all not working for us as CBB enforced all payment gateways in bahrain to validate 3D code first time user pay online with card which is not user friendly experience and its not supported by our platform as well . I have to find international payment gateway and amlomst all of them do not support Bahrain / BHD Bahrain Currency .
Let me know if any recommendation , thanks
There are gateways like Stripe that do support BHD but they will require a foreign account / US for withdrawals . Their Atlas project allows you to set up a business for relatively little in Delaware I believe. And from there you could again wire to your Bahraini business. Do check it out. With local gateways I do not see a way around the 3D check.
I need a multi vendor payment gateway in bahrain, please kindly suggest me.
Hi Jumanah, could you please explain your needs a bit better? Yith offers a multi vendor WooCommerce extension https://yithemes.com/themes/plugins/yith-woocommerce-multi-vendor/ that you could checkout. Have not tried it yet, but Yithemes is a solid company. As for payment gateways, well, you can read this blog post and see what would suit your needs.
Hi Jasper, Thanks for such a informative note. I am building a E-commerce website for selling Jewelry overall (especially in GCC). I registered a company in Bahrain and having a bank account in some Bahraini Bank. PayPal and Stripe are not an options for me as you stated above. So please suggest me what shall I go for, a service where I can link my Bahraini Bank Account and put it on my website to receive customers’ payments. Look forward!
I suggest you start an online business with an American bank account account using Stripe Atlas. Business will be American and can be connected to your current. One of the cheapest and easiest ways: https://stripe.com/atlas
Hi Jasper ,
what is the left over profit that one will have if we adopt this model ?
coz (( 3.9% + 30 Cent) + company tax of USA + remittance fee ), how come this option will be cheap can you through somelight on this .
Well at https://stripe.com/atlas you can see the setup is $500. And then they mention key ongoing costs (not included in the setup fee):
– Delaware registered agent — $100 per year (renewed automatically)
– Corporate tax preparation — packages start at $250 per year
– Delaware tax filing—preparation is free, Delaware fee starts at $225
– Bank account maintenance — $25 per month (C Corporations only)
As for tax payment. Delaware is chosen because of its low tax burden – https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/092515/4-reasons-why-delaware-considered-tax-shelter.asp . This does not mean there is none and this also depends on whether you use a C or LLC https://stripe.com/docs/atlas/tax-obligations#file-delaware-tax .
All LLCs formed or registered in Delaware must pay an annual LLC tax, currently at a flat rate of $300.00. There is no requirement to file an Annual Report.
And then there is :
– Partnership Federal Tax Form 1065
– U.S. Individual Income Tax or U.S. Corporate Income Tax
see for example https://stripe.com/atlas/guides/business-taxes and http://www.tax-rates.org/delaware/corporate-income-tax .
FYI: I am not an attorney, but Stripe documentation is pretty solid and can be backed up with sources and their aid. I would however hire an attorney and or account besides the general setup. And I would consult one on C or LLC choice and attached tax burden before deciding to set up one.
thanks a lot for the info provided , really appreciate your time and help in providing this .
Hi Jasper, Any latest updates on this article?
No, Justus, no new updates from my part. I am no longer residing in Bahrain however. But I have neither had any updates on this from my network which includes a lot of web developers located there and in the region. If you do find out more Justus, do post back.
Unfortunately, HyperPay now ONLY operates in Lebanon, Jordan, UAE, KSA and Egypt soon.Bahrain is not available now.
That is most unfortunate. Do hope another payment gateway will take its place soon Anson.
Thanks a lot for your introduction,I’ve tried to contact these payment gateways one by one .
BUT,just find that Payza has been accused by the US government of operating an unlicensed money service business since March,2018.
Just for update.
it seems paytabs have stopped operating in Bahrain
They did Basel? Was there any announcement or did the PayTabs payment gateway just start working ?
They sent emails to their clients (not sure if its just me or all clients) , announcing that they are suspending their services. Probably something to do with CBB regulations.
thank you dear for your informative posts. I am starting my ecommerce, however I am stuck choosing the best payment gateway for Bahrain. I now realize that paypal cannot be connected to Bahrain based banks. However, I do have a Visa card (personal), can I use Paypal to debit my Visa card account when my customers do the purchase? Can I then withdraw cash or transfer the amounts received to my bank account?
Just came across this post and wanted to add an update.
I was personally involved a few years ago in signing with PayPal exclusively with my previous employer Bahrain Islamic Bank (BisB) and they have recently enabled the option to withdraw directly to your BisB account from PayPal.
Although PayPal now works in Bahrain, it only supports transactions in USD.
Thanks for the information Salman. Good to hear there is a bank that now supports connecting your PayPal account to albeit using USDs only. That at least is a nice step forward for those of us that would like to use PayPal for online transactions. Hope to see more follow suit and see Stripe land in Bahrain soon too.
I would like to know if the BENEFIT provides their Payment Gateway as a wordpress/WooCommerce plugin ? Or is there a plugin for Benefit payment gateway available?
I found https://pluginsmaker.com/plugins/woocommerce-benefit-payment-gateway/ for $39 . Never worked with this plugin nor know the company, but may be worthwhile.
I subscribe with TotalAV yesterday and I paid US 2.99 through Paypal.
After a few minutes I noticed somebody draw from my account 4 times aftet each 3 minutes :
1)BD.388/870 at Youtube Automation
2)BD.77:550. at Dorieclatk.com
3)BD.105/328. At Gormationscfio
4)BD.58/070 at Ashlynwrites.com
Could you please inveterate and do the needful ti refund me.
Sorry to hear that it seems like your PayPal account had been hijacked. Perhaps the TotalAV site was not a legitimate, malicious and or hacked website and caused this. Perhaps you were tricked into going to this website that looked legit but was setup to scam you. This is often done via phishing emails. See https://www.paypal.com/us/brc/article/what-is-phishing-or-spoofing
I would however contact PayPal to ask for a refund. They are the ones that should be able to help you out. I do however not represent them and I do not know in what circumstances they refund and when they do not.
NB I would also make sure my account’s password is changed.
Best of Luck.
Hi Jasper Frumau
i want to start selling online courses and i want to ask you what is the best option for international payment getaway to be used other than paypal ..
for example i want people to buy my courses from america , Europe and other places with different payment method (creditcard , ……)
what you suggest for me ?
Hi Yousif, for the US I recommend Stripe via the Atlas program ( https://stripe.com/atlas ), but that is credit card payments only. A lot of Europeans do not use credit cards however so will not be able to reach them unless you offer SEPA options. And that often also requires local payment options like iDEAL in the Netherlands. Laravel Cashier (Laravel PHP Framework payment providers package) does Stripe but also Mollie for European payments. For the latter I do however not know the rules if you apply as a business from outside the EU, but I think with your business registered US side using Stripe Atlas I am sure you can manage as well. Wish you all the best with your endeavors!
dear. i want 2d gateway for GCC specially in Bahrain. please tell me which one is better international credit card transactions . my client from Bahrain so he want 2d gateway. please tell which one is better thanks.
How are you doing .. Greeting to you
I am trying to make an e-commerce website so which payment method online I should use for my website my location in Bahrain. can you please advise me and I am really confused about this issue?
First of all, thank you so much for this article. I’m a university student and working on my thesis about cashless payments and came across this article while searching for payment gateways being used by online shopping sites in Bahrain. As I was reading your reply to comments, I noticed you mentioned SEPA. Are you based in Europe now? Are countries there now gearing towards becoming cashless societies? Or is cash still highly used?
Thanks a lot!
Sorry, only read about this just now. In the EU they are using online banking for payments a lot and in stores debit cards are used for almost everything these days. So yes, cash is used less and less in Europe. Does however not mean it is not possible to pay in cash.